Martial and Medical Arts

John Mcreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)
Sat, 9 Sep 1995 22:22:48 +0900

Here I'd like to second Barbara Campbell's observation that the connection between traditional systems of healing and martial arts is a field with rich
potential for study, especially given their continually evolving overlaps with
traditional cosmology on the one hand and popular culture (comic books, films,
animations, etc.) on the other. As Barbara points out the Asian healing and
martial arts have received a certain (if inadequate) amount of attention.Their
African and Native and Latin American equivalents far less. For those who
might like to pursue this line, I note that their has been some discussion
of Brazilian style kick-boxing (connected, perhaps to Frence savate?) on
the list Contemporanea, where it came up in connection with appearances in
French film.

One thing that makes these topics particularly relevant for current
concerns is their historic connections with resistance to hegemonic power.
Thus, for example, Chinese martial arts have a long historical association
with Taoism, secret societies, and popular rebellions (of which the aptly
named Boxer Rebellion was only one of many). Here, too, are possible
cross-references to Cargo Cults, Protestantism and other attempts to find
sources of personal power in opposition to dominant (imperial, colonial or other) institutions.

John McCreery (in a Fossian mood).

Over to d'Foss, who knows this stuff much better than your's truly. :-)